According to the “Journalism, Media and Technology Trends and Predictions 2019” report published by the Reuters Institute and the University of Oxford, 2019 will be the most challenging year yet for journalism. Editors and journalists face an enormous task: finding a way to incorporate readers into the publishing equation in order to remain profitable. Below, I propose five truths that publishers must recognize this year in order to successfully monetize their digital content and keep their readers, rather than their investors, top of mind.
- Subscriptions can’t be your sole source of revenue – there is a vast number of monetization options for publishers to consider, whether they be donations, single article purchases or an ad-free experience.
- Podcasts can be a game-changer if done right – 75% of respondents in the Reuters report expect audio to become an important part of their strategies, but if publishers aren’t careful, they could cede control of their audio content to a tech giant.
- You can’t rely on big tech to save you – publishers need to understand that the big platforms are not a white knight, here to save them. Instead they must determine for themselves what they need to be successful and find ways to work with the opportunities presented.
- Technology is your friend, not your enemy – I don’t expect AI to replace editors and journalists, but by implementing AI to handle repetitive tasks and matter-of-fact stories, editors and journalists can focus more on creative content and developing the in-depth stories that their readers are looking for.
- Don’t bite the hand that feeds you – Publishers seem more focused on pleasing advertisers, but that led them to ignore the reader. Rebuilding that user trust and user-centric news model will be a challenge, but should be taken seriously.
- Conclusion: Publishers are in for a year of reckoning, but if they can accept certain truths they are facing and refocus on the user, the media industry can make a comeback.